My name is Dave Jonsson. I am the pastor of Ethos Young Adults at Coquitlam Alliance Church, and this is my testimony…
I was born in Reykjavik, Iceland into a Pentecostal family. I grew up going to church. I can say that at the age of six I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. At the age of 10, my family decided to move to Vancouver, BC. Being a very active kid, this was a welcomed move for me as I was very excited for a life with better weather. I soon began skateboarding and this became a huge part of my life. I would go as far as to say that skateboarding became a part of my identity, and as I began to identify with the skateboard community, I began participating in all of the things this lifestyle offered. As I did, I found myself at a crossroads between my faith in Jesus and the worldly lifestyle of skateboarding. I started dabbling in some drugs and alcohol and before long I found myself living a life very distant from God.
After high school, I went travelling and ended up living in Iceland again for two years. It was there that I felt very strongly that God was calling me back to him and back to Canada. I knew that the life God had for me was way better than anything the world would offer, but yet, I still wasn’t strong enough to put my trust in him completely.
Until one warm summer day…
It was August 18th, 2007. Myself and three friends decided to go flying up to Squamish. My friend Gudni, visiting from Iceland, had recently got his pilot’s license. As we came around this one bend, Gudni became very anxious because at the end of this valley there were all these clouds. I just remember Gudni saying, “Man, we got to turn the plane around and break out the map because we need to find a different route to take!” And we saw that beside the valley that we were flying in, there was another valley that took us to the same destination. And as we came around the corner of this valley, it became really apparent that this was not a good valley to be flying in because it was really narrow and at the end of this valley, the mountains escalated really quickly.
I remember looking at Gudni and there was a focus and an intensity because this situation could lead to us crashing. I remember being scared, and feeling thoughts like: “I could die.” As he slowed the plane down, it actually slowed down so much that it stalled.
Before the plane crash, I didn’t really have a direction in my life. I didn’t really know where I was going or what I was doing. I was working a deadbeat job and living pay check to pay check, doing drugs, moving from relationship to relationship. I had no real purpose and no real meaning. I was searching.
As the propellers slowed down, I felt my stomach go to my chest, and as I closed my eyes and reached out my legs and started hearing the sound of the wings hitting the trees. As the plane crashed, all I could think about was how I had wasted my life, wasted my faith, and how far away I was from God. We crashed going 123 km/hr into the mountains of Squamish, BC. I was unconscious for 15 minutes and in that time, my two friends were able to get out of the plane. One of them, Elliot, even though he was covered in gasoline and the plane was humming, decided to come back. He began yelling for us, “Dave! Gudni! Wake up!” There was nothing. No sign of life. That was, until Elliot smacked me across my face and all of the sudden I came to!
In the crash, the seat I was sitting on broke loose and it snapped my leg in half, breaking my femur in two places. I found myself pinned by the seat and needing to get out. At the same time, as I looked to my left, there was Gudni, my best friend, dying. This was the most difficult moment of my life, but it was this moment that would lead me to reconsider all I had been doing previous to this. This was my prodigal son moment, when I realized how broken I was, how frail life is, and how desperately I needed to go back home to my heavenly father. As search and rescue came six hours later, I was determined to live my life differently, to live it for Christ.
After the plane crash, my life is far different. My priorities are completely changed. Jesus is truly my treasure, and as I treasure Jesus I just feel there’s such a comfort in that, in just knowing that you’re loved by God—that God isn’t some scary guy up in the clouds. He is a father, and because of a real relationship with a real God—Jesus—there is this overwhelming sense of contentment. And Jesus loves me. I’m loved by God! Since that moment, I have been in ministry seven years, completed my bachelors in Pastoral Leadership, am married, have 2 kids, and one on the way! Praise God – He is Good!